The Russian Orthodox Church has severed its ties with the central Orthodox Church community, in a move considered by some to be the worst schism the church has faced in nearly a thousand years.
Russian Orthodox Church officials said on Monday that the decision to cut ties with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople came in response to Constantinople’s decision to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as independent from Russian control.
Metropolitan Ilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s head of external relations, blamed Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, the main church leader of the Orthodox Church, in a statement earlier this week.
“We now stand before a new church reality: we no longer have a single coordinating center in the Orthodox Church and we must very clearly recognize that,” said Ilarion, according to ABC News. “The Constantinople Patriarchate liquidated itself as such a center.”
The Christian Post reached out to the Orthodox Church in America for their perspective. The Church declined to comment, but did direct CP to an Archpastoral letter written by Metropolitan Tikhon, primate of the Orthodox Church in America
In his letter, dated Sept. 26, Metropolitan Tikhon explained that they “received with sorrow, yet with understanding” the Russian Church’s intention to sever ties.
“We are deeply aware of the pain and trauma in the life of Orthodox people caused by ecclesial schism which weakens Orthodox witness and evangelism in society. Such pain and trauma have been wounds in the life of Orthodox Christians in Ukraine for several decades,” wrote Tikhon.
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Source: Christian Post